Ben Affleck Gives Honest Response to Sobriety Setback — & That Vulnerability Deserves Respect

A day after video footage of him appearing inebriated sparked concern, Ben Affleck has addressed his sobriety setback — and he is owning up to his mistake. As the actor arrived at the Pacific Palisades home of his ex-wife Jennifer Garner on Sunday, he was intercepted by paparazzi inquiring about his seemingly intoxicated evening at the UNICEF Masquerade Ball the evening before. To his credit, Affleck faced the questions head-on.

From his refreshed look on Sunday morning, you wouldn’t be able to tell that Affleck’s Saturday included a heartbreaking slip-up more than a year into his sobriety. Dressed casual but sharp in a gray sweater and blue jeans, Affleck carried a large iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. When asked by one paparazzo about his partying the night before, Affleck stopped walking and turned to respond. “It happens. It was a slip, but I’m not going to let it derail me,” he said in a video shared by the Daily Mail, adding as he walked away, “Thank you very much, guys.”

Of the admission, a source told People, “You could tell that it wasn’t an easy thing for him, but Ben owned his mistake. He said it happens, that he slipped up but that it won’t happen again. It was a smart move because now the story is basically over.” However, the source added, “He looked tired.”

In the video footage obtained by TMZ on Saturday night, the father-of-three could be seen stumbling before steadying himself against an SUV as he struggled to walk. Although he wore a skull mask, photos from the event confirm the seemingly intoxicated man in the mask was indeed Affleck.

It was a heartbreaking setback, given August marked one year of sobriety for Affleck. Yet, as he himself has said (and research shows), addiction is a chronic disease that requires ongoing treatment — both on a personal level and, often, by medical professionals. The behavior of an addict, even one in recovery, is mercurial. As Affleck’s own behavior demonstrates, they are prone to setbacks.

But addicts are also prone to self-loathing, which chips away at their self-esteem. That lower self-esteem can then prompt them to drink, manifesting a damaging loop. So, today, Affleck did a thing that was likely incredibly difficult to do by fessing up to a failure. Two days after publicly celebrating one year of sobriety and one day after breaking that sobriety, he acknowledged his mistake and his desire to move forward. That deserves credit and, hey, maybe a little grace, too?

After all, Saturday night likely served as a sobering reminder for Affleck how problematic complacency can be, as his addiction will never fully be behind him. Best of luck to him and his family as he recommits himself to recovery.

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